Sunday I was hoping to drive off the mountain and get in a hour and a half in the national forest which is much warmer than in boone. Well, I got to Blowing Rock and none of the roads had been scraped, and I didn't feel like sliding off the road into a 100 feet deep canyon. So I parked in town and settled on riding down, and then back up the steepest gravel road in North Carolina. It's called Globe Rd. Its about 5 miles long and drops roughly 2000 feet. I only descended as long as my feet could handle; its cold at 35 mph in 17 degrees! Turning around and climbing just for a mile and a half, I gained about 950 feet. The average grade climbing was 16%. The maximum was 25%. Needless to say, I just spun in my granny gear and kept the heart rate low, with an average of 139 for my short ride. Some pictures as proof that I went out:
If anyone is interested in more details, check it out here.
Moving onto the much more interesting ride... Wednesday is almost always my day off so when the local weather guy forcasted 51 degrees and sunny, the 30% chance of rain did not bother me a bit. I am trying to get in 8 hours on my bike this week, i got 6 last week (10 next week, 12 the next, restart). So I wanted a big ride. I opted to go for a similar start as my last big road ride, and added a descent into another valley, and followed it with two very incredible climbs. I changed up the beginning of the ride, per the suggestion of Megan Carmody (eat Black Cat!!) and rode out the parkway and Brownwood road to get to the railroad grade rd. Got a refill of water at the friendly Todd Mercantile:
On the way up Three Top Rd. I stopped for this view:
Then i followed a route similar to last week to get to us-421, and climbed it back into North Carolina (from Tennesee)
and descended old 421. This is a very welcome 35 mph coast for the most part, except for the great dane that was waiting half way. Following the usual route, I crossed us-321 and turned and climbed Mast Gap Rd. Crossing Mast Gap and descending into Valle Crucis I took a break and got a Diet Cheerwine (on credit, forgot my wallet!) and chatted it up with the women working. We discussed our mutual distaste for out-of-towners and the Jersey accent. Rolling down Broadstone, riding the worst road in the high country (Hwy 105) and turning onto Old Shull's Mill Rd got me to the best point on my ride: Shull's Mill Rd. It snakes up the side of a hill, all the way from Hwy 105 (elev. 2700) to us-221 and the parkway in Blowing Rock (elev. 3900). I snagged a picture of the twisty road ahead:
Reaching the top of Shull's Mill, I did the dumbest thing for the day (aside from forgetting my wallet) and turned on Flannery Fork Rd. Its an awesome dirt and gravel road that gets you quickly back to Boone, but not the best idea after snow has melted. I cruised down the pavement that follows, and got back to boone bike around 5 o clock. Just about 6 hours after I started. With a ride time of 5:30 that means I only rested 30 minutes during the day. I'm okay with that. Just a couple more pictures, my bike and my Garmin Edge showing numbers and the elevation:
For more details click here.
Well, if anyone actually reads this, I'll be amazed. Thanks, if you are reading it. More next time. Hoping for a big mountain ride sunday, maybe some good pictures.